Jewish self-hatred was first called out in 1903 by the Austrian psychologist Otto Weininger, who astutely observed that “the bitterest Antisemites are to be found among the Jews themselves.” (Weininger had the courtesy to convert to Protestantism.)
Perhaps the lowest form of self-hating Jew is those who earn their livelihoods by delegitimizing Israel—professional anti-Semites, one might say.
We have witnessed in recent years that publications such as The New York Times keep a small collection of “court Jews,” who can be trotted out to flash their Jewish identity while attacking Israel relentlessly over any sin they deem the Jewish state to have committed.
It’s one thing to criticize Israel’s policies—and we Israel-loving Jews do it freely. But to undermine the very existence of Israel crosses the line into anti-Semitism.
Chief among these “court Jews” is Peter Beinart—a former left-wing Zionist Jew who no longer believes the Jewish state should continue to exist and has become the poster boy for anti-Zionists.
Indeed, Beinart has already declared: “I no longer believe in a Jewish state.”
Beinart frequently claims his extremist views come from a place of love, because he has family in Israel and still cares about the Jewish people. However, his latest screed in the Times—”America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes”—is an argument that seeks to leave the Jewish state vulnerable to destruction.
The central thesis of Beinart’s article is that the U.S. should not be giving Iran a hard time about its nuclear weapons program while Israel’s alleged nuclear weapons are ignored.
First, Beinart’s equation of a genocidal, terror-supporting Islamic theocracy with the State of Israel provides an early indication that this is not going to be a fair piece—let alone remotely sensible. Beinart equates two nuclear programs in the same way that one could say the Allies and the Axis both had militaries during the Second World War.
The Times editors apparently didn’t think it relevant to insist that Beinart mention these dispositive facts:
The Islamic Republic of Iran is currently the world’s number one state supporter of terrorism. It has been on the U.S. State Department’s List of State Sponsors of Terrorism since 1984. According to Ashley Lane of the Wilson Center: “Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has built a network of proxies across the Middle East. At the beginning of 2020, Tehran had allies among more than a dozen major militias, some with their own political parties that challenged local and neighboring governments. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the elite Quds Force provided arms, training and financial support to militias and political movements in at least six countries: Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Syria and Yemen.”
Iran has committed terrorist attacks in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
In 2005, then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said clearly that Israel should be “wiped off the map.” Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in 2012, “Israel is a cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut.”
Most Iranian government rallies promote “Death to Israel, Death to America” chants, egged on by the Supreme Leader and other senior leaders.
This state-sanctioned incitement to genocide is a crime under international law, which prohibits encouraging genocide. Incitement to genocide is subject to prosecution even if genocide does not occur, because history has taught us that we cannot afford to wait until genocide actually occurs.
Thus, Beinart compares Iran, a nation that has openly declared its intention to destroy a whole nation and millions of people—and is building the capability to do so—with Israel. He also knows that Israel has been described as a “one-bomb country”—which means that while many nations in the world would be able to absorb a nuclear attack, Israel, because of its size and population density, could be destroyed with one nuclear bomb.
Beinart also knows this issue has nothing to do with Iran. He simply wants to deprive Israel of the ability to defend itself. Fact is, the State of Israel has not been attacked by any nation in the region since 1973, primarily because of its enemies’ understanding of its nuclear capabilities.
This shifting balance of power in the region had led to a cold peace—and now something approaching an alliance—best seen in the recent spate of agreements between Israel and pragmatic Sunni nations.
Many of these agreements are also predicated on a mutual distrust of Iran, which is seen as destabilizing the region. A nuclear Iran would be a threat to all. Beinart’s call to unravel Israel’s nuclear program directly threatens the newfound peace in the region and would leave Israel vulnerable to destruction.
Dennis Ross—a diplomat who worked with the first Bush, then Clinton and Obama administrations—offers a far more sensible strategy. Ross wrote an essay—“To Deter Iran, Give Israel a Big Bomb”—in which he suggests the U.S. provide Israel the capability to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program, as the Islamic Republic seems to have no interest in returning to negotiations under the JCPOA deal.
Ross suggests pressuring Iran over its nuclear program by providing Israel with “mountain-buster” technology. The U.S. GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator has the ability to destroy Iran’s underground nuclear enrichment facility at Fordow. Ross argues, “The Iranians may doubt whether the U.S. would follow through on its threats; they won’t have any trouble believing the Israelis will.”
Ross, a thoughtful career diplomat (and also a Jew)—who understands international relations and diplomacy—shows the real way to end Iran’s nuclear capability. He also understands what Peter Beinart apparently cannot: That the way to stop Iran is through a serious threat—not by trying to “level the playing field,” and forcing the only Jewish state to give up its greatest tool for preventing a second Holocaust.
Indeed, Beinart’s thesis is so ludicrous he makes other anti-Semite contributors to the Times almost look reasonable. That’s scary.
James Sinkinson is president of Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.
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